BY DAVID RUSSELL
The baseball community was shocked and saddened by the news of the death of Darryl Hamilton. The former Met outfielder was shot by his girlfriend in a murder-suicide in their Texas home.
“He was a great player and a great man,” said former Mets catcher Todd Pratt, a teammate of Hamilton’s from 1999-2001. “He was one of the top teammates I ever had. Darryl cared about you.”
Pratt, who is the head coach at West Georgia Technical College, was at the ballpark with his team when he learned of Hamilton’s death. “My wife told me. My heart sank. I let my assistants run practice. Everytime I think about it, it breaks my heart. He was a great man.”
It wasn’t just teammates who liked Hamilton. “He was terrifically sweet and genuinely down to earth,” said Mets broadcaster Howie Rose. “There are players who get caught up in their own celebrity, but he was as regular a guy as you could ever meet.”
The Mets acquired Hamilton from the Colorado Rockies at the trade deadline in 1999, and received some veteran leadership as well as playoff experience. Hamilton had come up to the majors with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1988 and made the playoffs as a member of the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants. On September 5, Hamilton hit a grand slam at Shea Stadium against Colorado, just five weeks after they traded him away.
Hamilton had a major moment in the 2000 playoff run. In Game 2 of the NLDS against the Giants, Hamilton doubled in the 10th inning of a 4-4 game. He came around to score the winning run as the Mets took Game 2 and eventually the series. “He was a gamer who would go the extra mile for you,” Pratt said.
Although the Mets lost to the Yankees in the World Series, the team still got rings for winning the National League pennant. “I always got a kick because that ring was always on his finger,” Rose said.
Hamilton served as an on-air analyst for MLB Network. According to Rose, Hamilton’s name came up when WOR was looking for somebody to join the crew before the season.
The Hamilton that came across on TV was the real Hamilton. “He was easy to talk to,” Rose said. “He was at ease in any conversation, a regular guy. He could’ve been doing anything professionally, running an ad agency, a dentist. He was straightforward and engaging.”